Comprehensive Knowledge Archive Network

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= a registry of Open Knowledge projects maintained by the Open Knowledge Foundation



"CKAN is the Comprehensive Knowledge Archive Network, a registry of open knowledge packages and projects (and a few closed ones). CKAN is the place to search for open knowledge resources as well as register your own – be that a set of Shakespeare's works, a global population density database, the voting records of MPs, or 30 years of US patents."


From an interview:

Your Comprehensive Knowledge Archive Network (CKAN) is a registry for open knowledge packages and projects, and people have added more than 100 in the past year. Can you tell us how the project got started? What have the recent updates achieved? And what are your future plans — where do you hope to go next?

Rufus Pollock:

"If you’ve got an ambitious goal like this one [of radically changing data sharing and production practices], you’ve got to start with a modest approach — asking, “what is the simplest thing we can do that would be useful?” So we began by identifying some of the key things necessary for a knowledge-sharing infrastructure, to figure out what we could contribute. Sometimes what’s needed is conceptual, like our definitions. Sometimes you need a guide for applying concepts, like our principles for open knowledge development. And you need a way to share resources, which is why we started KnowledgeForge, which hosts all kinds of knowledge development projects.

The impetus behind CKAN was to make it easier for people to find open data, as well as to make their data available to others (especially in a way that can be automated). If you use Google to search for data, you’re much more likely to find a page about data than you are to find the data itself. As a scientist, you don’t want to find just one bit of information — you want the whole set. And you don’t want shiny front ends or permission barriers at any point in the process. We’ve been making updates to CKAN so machines can better interact with the data, which makes it so people who want data don’t have to jump as many hurdles to get it. Ultimately, we want people to be able to request data sets and have the software automatically install any additions and updates on their computers." (

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Open Data